Friday, January 6, 2012

Awakening to a closer walk with God

To read the first chapter click here.
I picked up Stovall Weems book, Awakening: A New Approach to Faith, Fasting, and Spiritual Freedom by Stovall Weems, because of a deep desire for just that, an Awakening. I wanted to have that same passion for Him all the time as I had during the week of revivals at my church we attended last November.  As Weems says, we are meant to have that kind of passion all the time, not just during a week-long, or even month long event. That kind of relationship with God is sustainable, but not only that, it is God’s desire for our relationship with him.  

God created us to be passionate about what we love. If we love something or someone, we can't keep quiet about it.
As a Christian I’ve never really understood the role of fasting in my relationship with God.  After reading this book, and the bible texts that discuss fasting I have come to the conclusion that it should be a part (read Matthew 6:16 and Mark 9:14-29).  Christ mentions fasting as one of three 'space makers':ways to create space in our lives for God to fill, as "God is a filler, not a forcer."  The three space-makers are: giving, praying, and fasting.  I’ve been praying, and giving, and reading the Word – but neglecting fasting. I became hungry to learn more.  

Reading the last section on "how to fast," I realized that after eating the "Eat to Live" way for the past 3 months, I have been fasting all this time.  The sample menu's the book give for fasting are essentially the same menu's I have been eating - except I am eating a good amount of beans and tofu, which I feel is healthier for my body overall.  I never connected with how close my diet is to the "Daniel Diet." 
One point I disagree with Weems on is he says to drink a lot of water during a fast - and I mean a lot of water - more than 12 cups a day.  I disagree with this.  If you are not eating a high sodium diet - and are eating lots of fruits and vegetables - your body does not need that much water (source).

At the very end of the book is a section on how to fast, and the "Awakening 21-Day Plan." Each day gives a small devotional, bible reading plan, prayer focus, optional book reading plan, and a place to journal. Just skimming through this section makes me excited to start the 21-day 'fast.' But since I'm already fasting, we'll just call it a 21-day-devotional-to-make-even-more-space-for-God-in-my-life - or really call it what it is - fasting with purpose, a closer relationship with God. (And then if you really want to feel great all the time,  not just on a 21-day fast, go pick up "Eat to Live.")

Even though I didn't get as much out of the fasting portion of the book, after reading this book I do feel more connected with God, rejuvenated and yes - awakened to God's desire for me.  The bible passages he selected and the way he wrote about grace and living a passionate life for Christ has left an impact on me.  My favorite passage:

The clause of the New Covenant in Hebrews 8:10-12 says:  This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days says the Lord: I will put my laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.  None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying "Know the Lord," For all shall know me, from the least of them to the greatest of them.  For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.
What an amazing message to us from God!  Because of Christ's sacrifice on the cross, our sins and lawless deeds He will forget, wipe clean from His memory. Now, that is good news, folks!

Would I recommend this book to anyone wanting to draw closer to God? Absolutely. 

Full disclosure: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group, but all thoughts and opinions are mine, and mine alone.